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Posts tagged ‘Protecting the Heart’

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Cook”

I skipped last week’s prompt, mostly because I couldn’t come up with anything for it. But, I’ve had something simmering in my head since I saw the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt yesterday. We have a busy day(ok, we’re busy through Monday), but I’m going to try to get it down before we have to get going.


“I do know how to cook, you know?” Alaina said. “You don’t have to hover.”

Declan laughed from behind her. “Trust me, I know you can. We probably wouldn’t have survived if I’d had to do the cooking.”

She looked over her shoulder and smiled at her older brother. They may bicker, but she was so grateful to have him in her life, especially after their mother had died and her stepfather hadn’t stuck around. He’d sacrificed a lot to finish raising her, and that’s something she’d never forget. “I’m sure you would have figured it out.” She went back to stirring the bowl in front of her. “And I’m sorry I couldn’t make it back for the wedding.”

“You could have,” he said, but she didn’t hear any censure in the words. “If you would’ve accepted my offer.”

She closed her eyes. He had offered to pay for her ticket back to Texas for the wedding. But, after everything he’d done for her, she couldn’t accept more from him. “No, I couldn’t,” she said softly.

She felt him behind her then, and his arms wrapped around her. “I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done for you. Don’t ever forget that.”

She smiled ever as tears welled in her eyes. She had missed her big brother, even as much as she loved it here. “You know Uncle Niall and Aunt Eileen are glad you, Eva, and Dani were able to make it for Christmas. They were afraid something might come up.” Not that she was sure what. She didn’t even know exactly what her brother did, except install security. But, she didn’t understand how that had gotten him shot–twice–over the summer.

“I said we’d be here. I wouldn’t have broken that promise unless I couldn’t help it. You know that.”

She did. and she didn’t say it, but she was even happier he was here. She liked being here in Ireland with her father’s family, but she’d missed Declan. He took a step back but didn’t go far. “Now, before Aunt Eileen comes in and kicks me out of the kitchen, what’s this I hear about some friends that will be joining us.”

Alaina could feel her face warm, but she kept her gaze on the ingredients she was measuring. “I’m sure she told you, they’re friends of Sean’s.”

“Yes. She also told me one of them has been paying an awful lot of attention to you.”

That actually wasn’t Sean’s friend. It was his younger brother. “They don’t have much in the way of family, either. Braeden helped raise Caelan, just like you. They’re going to spend the holidays here. I don’t know what else there is to know.”

“How about how you feel about him?”

She turned to him then and tried to control her flush, though that was nearly impossible. “I feel that I’m a grown woman now, and what I feel is my business.”

He scowled for a moment then burst out laughing. “Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what Eva told me, too.”

“I like your wife, Declan.”

His smile was soft as he said, “Yeah, I do, too.” He took another step back and said, “I’ll get out of your hair now. Go see if Dani’s back from the barn with Uncle Niall yet.”

The whole family had taken instantly to Declan’s new stepdaughter, and Alaina was especially happy her brother had found this happiness. He deserved it, maybe more than any of them. And she hoped she could find it one day, too.


I don’t know how far this will go, but I’ve been thinking about writing a novella about Declan’s sister since I wrote Protecting the Heart, even though this series was only supposed to be a trilogy. So, I may work on this once I finish Defending the Heart.

Writing Wednesday: Pacing Myself

Haha, yeah that title makes me laugh, too. But, the reason for it: On Monday, Kait Nolan posted on the RoW80 blog about Pacemaker. So, of course, I had to go check it out. Even though I should have been writing. It was also 90 degrees on Monday, and I was too hot to write anyway. But, back to the point. I put all my projects in, figured out about how many more words I needed to write for each and the due dates I’d come up with. And I set it to randomize my daily word counts. So, I adjusted all my to-do lists for this week with the new word count goals. Some days(like yesterday), this may mean writing really later. Other days(like probably today) I’ll be done sooner and can spend more time writing.

The rest of this month for Protecting the Heart

The rest of this month for Protecting the Heart

Right now, we’re still in between JuNoWriMo sprints, so I’m working on my blog post until the next one starts. I’ve been working on things in between sprints and it seems to be going well for getting all that other stuff done as well. Right now, it’s time to share a snippet for WiPPet Wednesday, though. I’m in between Protecting the Heart(met my goal for today during the last sprint) and Ready When You Are(next one I’m working on), so I just have to decide which one to share from. Okay, Protecting the Heart it is. This was written yesterday. Eva’s with Emelyn(may remember her from Guarding the Heart) and Sarah. 22 sentences for today:

“You can trust all of them to protect you and Dani,” Sarah told her. “Especially Declan. I’ve seen the way he looks at you.”

Eva shook her head. “No. You’re wrong. He doesn’t look at me any way.” But, she couldn’t quite brush off those kisses and felt her face start to flame.

Emelyn laughed. “That sounds familiar, doesn’t it, Sarah?”

“It certainly does. I think those exact words came out of your mouth once. Then, the two of you practically eye-fucked over my dinner table.”

“We did more than that later that night in the bedroom,” Emelyn said.

Eva’s face was flaming hot, but she couldn’t help laughing. Sarah patted her hand. “You’ll get used to it. And you’ll see. The first time he comes in and sticks his tongue down her throat-”

Emelyn threw a balled-up napkin at Sarah. “Like you and Alex are any better. He’s already got you knocked up, and he’s still all over you.”

Oh, I still love Emelyn. And her and Sarah aren’t wrong about Declan and Eva, considering the scene I just wrote this morning. *walks away whistling innocently.*

Now, on to my progress for this week:

  • Write 18000 words(raised my word count per project, but there’s 1 less project) – Well, since I’ve already written 14,318 words so far this week, I’d say I won’t have a problem meeting this goal. Yesterday I wrote over 9000 words, ending right around 8 p.m. I don’t plan to write any later than that since it still gives me time to take a shower and read for a bit before I go to bed.
    • Protecting the Heart – 4781 words. Right around the mid-point now.
    • Ready When You Are – 4847 words. Just got through the climax. Should finish this week
    • Shed Some Light – 1092 words. Getting close to the mid-point.
    • Break on Me – 867 words. Interesting having Lora and Erik run into each other after the awkward moment in Gabe’s kitchen the night before 😉
    • In the Moonlight – 830 words. That scene just flew out of me. Love writing these girls.
  • Finish back stories for Cam & Gio – these are done & plan to start writing the plot summary today. Wrote about 1900 words in plotting so far this week.
  • Dance with the Devil – get to 4500 words – no progress yet this week.
  • Snow White Twist – get to 2500 words – no progress yet this week.
  • Read: Description – get to 85% – at about 75% right now. On track/a little ahead
  • Read: Finish How We Began, Ruled by Steel(S.M. Reine), Beautiful Demons(Sarra Cannon), When a Scot Ties the Knot(Tessa Dare), Divide(Jessa Russo), A Most Scandalous Proposal(Ashlyn Macnamara), The Admiral’s Bride(Suzanne Brockman) & Identity: Unknown(Suzanne Brockman) – that will finish what I have of this series: I finished How We Began Sunday night. Loved all these stories. Finished Ruled by Steel Monday night and really enjoyed it. Read the first book in the Beautiful Demons set(has the first 3 books). Was ok, but just not really keeping my interest, so not sure I’ll read the rest.

More red than I’d like, but I still have half the week to go. And obviously my focus has been elsewhere. Mostly on the new words written.

Story a Day: Day 22 – Not Again(Take 2)

Today’s prompt was to take something from an earlier piece and do something different with it. Well, I decided to tell my sidekick story, Not Again, from Xavier’s POV this time. Dig into his thoughts a bit more. I have about to the halfway point of my outline drafted for Protecting the Heart(which this takes place during), once I get closer to having the end written, I’ll start outlining Piers & Xavier’s story, Defending the Heart.

Xavier didn’t have a clue what to do. He probably shouldn’t even be here. He was better at installing their security systems and even standing in as a bodyguard. But, Casey had told him to help Piers find any information that would help find that little girl. And that was more important than any of his feelings. He couldn’t help thinking about his niece, Josie. She was about the same age, and he knew how terrified his sister would be if something took her.

“Do you see that?”

Piers’ voice dragged him out of his thoughts, and he moved up behind him to see what he was pointing at on the screen. Even sitting, piers shoulders came nearly up to Xavier’s chest. A tingle went through him as his chest brushed over the back of those shoulders. He should move away, but he couldn’t make his feet to move.

He studied all the numbers on the screen and saw the same pattern Piers had. “Yeah, I do,” he said. “Just what are they up to?” And what did it have to do with Doug taking little Danica? “You ever call your boss that much?”

Piers didn’t respond at first, and Xavier worried his attempt at levity had been lost. They used to talk like this all the time, joke around, tease. And then he’d gone and screwed it all up.

“Do you?” Piers finally asked, lifting one eyebrow as he glanced back over his shoulder.

Something tightened in Xavier’s stomach. He wasn’t sure if it was the question or the way Piers looked at him. Either way, he could feel heat rising to his skin. Hopefully his darker coloring, from his Hispanic mother, hid at least some of it. “Jealous?” he asked, hoping the old teasing would hide more of it.

Piers didn’t respond, though. His face tightened just a moment before he turned back to face the computer. Xavier’s stomach dropped, and he squeezed his eyes shut. It shouldn’t hurt so much. It had been three years, and this was all his own fault anyway. He was the one who had screwed things up. Xavier shifted away, wishing distance would help. But, it hadn’t over the last few years. Why should it now?

“It would help to know what all they talked about on these phone calls,” Piers said, bringing Xavier’s attention back to the computer screen.

“You’re hacking skills can’t get us that?” Piers was about the only reason Xavier knew more than how to turn on a computer and run a search. He could do a lot more than that now. All those coding lessons had done good even though they’d always turned into make-out sessions.

Piers’ head tipped back, and Xavier was sure he was rolling his eyes, or at least looking up as if asking for some divine intervention for the heathen. He smirked a little at that.

“We don’t talk about that, remember?” Piers asked, and finally there was some amusement in his voice. Xavier had missed that. But, it disappeared again when Piers said, “And, no. Not without more equipment. It’s not a magic power.”

“Seems like it sometimes,” Xavier murmured.

Xavier saw red creep up the back of Piers’ neck at that, but the other man kept his eyes glued to the screen. “We should get the information we have to Declan. He won’t leave his woman, but he should see this.”

He knew Piers was right. And it would be better if they got out of here. He heard the printer start up and turned to grab the papers that came out of it. Piers nearly ran into him as he turned back around. Xavier had to step back, but the contact sent heat swimming through him. He bit down on his lip, as if that pain could ground him. And saw Piers’ eyes heat as they fell to his mouth. God. No. They could not do this. Not again.

“Come on,” Piers said, stepping around him. “We need to get them this information.”

Xavier followed him out of the apartment and couldn’t help checking out the rear view. It was as good as it had ever been. But, they couldn’t do this. All they ever did was hurt each other.

Story a Day: Day 15 – Still Trusted

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to rewrite the 1st person story from week 1. I wrote it from Eva’s POV the first time. This time, I rewrote it from Declan’s.

I headed up the stairs, wondering how Eva was doing after meeting Piers. I’d  worried when I heard Eva coming down the stairs. I remembered how she’d reacted to Casey that first day. Piers may not come off as intimidating, he was more laidback. But, he was still a big man, so it wasn’t a surprise she’d been frightened by him as well. I could tell her that none of the guys would ever hurt her, but I wasn’t so sure she’d believe me. And I wouldn’t blame her, either. Sometimes I was surprised she still trusted me.

I’d promised her she’d be safe from Doug, and now it looked like that might not be the case.

Now, I found her waiting for me at the top of the stairs, just inside the apartment. It looked like she’d worked herself into a state, just as I’d been worried about. Now, if only I could find the right words to calm her fears. She turned from the kitchen counter, and I approached slowly, hoping I wouldn’t spook her as well.

“Your friend left?” she asked.

“Yeah. What did you want to talk to me about, Eva?”

I took a couple steps closer to her,  but I saw her eyes widen and that pulse in her neck start to flutter, so I stopped where I was. I didn’t want to frighten her any more than I, or Piers, already had. I wished she knew I’d never hurt her. I wanted to touch her but never in the way her husband had.

“I want to do something.”

That took me by surprise, but I shook it off. Of course, she was tired of being cooped up here. “Okay,” I said, a little slowly. “What? You need to go somewhere? I can take you.”

She shook her head, the earrings she wore swinging with the motion. I wondered if she’d made those ones herself. “That’s not what I meant,” she said, bringing my attention back to her mouth. Which was a mistake. But, I had to focus on her words not on how much I’d like to kiss her right now. “I want to do something about Doug, to stop him.”

Those words sent a shaft of fear through me. I couldn’t let her anywhere near him, couldn’t let him get near her. “You don’t need to do that. I told you I’d take care of you. That I would keep you safe.”

“But, I can’t just sit around knowing he’s still out there. I have to do something, Declan. I don’t want to be this damsel in distress. Not again.”

“You’ve never been that,” I insisted. “You got yourself out of a bad situation, protected your baby. I only helped. So, don’t think of yourself like that.”

“There has to be something I can do,” she said, her voice sounding a little desperate.

I stared at her for a few moments then sighed. It seemed there was very little I could deny her or her daughter. “I got some information from Piers earlier. That’s why he was here. You can go through it with me.”

I watched her, waiting for her reaction, and hoped this would be enough. She still wouldn’t be in danger, but at least she’d feel she was doing something. Finally, she said, “Okay, I’ll check on Danica. She was in her room playing. Then, we can get started.”

I just nodded and headed to the table with the file I’d brought up from the office. She hesitated for a moment then headed back toward the bedrooms. I ran a hand over my face as I sank into a seat. Piers had said I was sunk. And I was pretty sure he was right.

SOCS/Story a Day: Day 14 – Not Again

“Do you see that?”

Piers felt Xavier move right up behind him to look over his shoulder. Sometimes he was sure the other man did that on purpose. But that wasn’t likely. He’d had his chance. Piers had even been willing to give him another.

He hadn’t taken it, either.

“Yeah, I do. Just what are they up to? You ever call your boss that much?”

Piers hadn’t had a boss since he’d left the Marine Corps over three years earlier. “Do you?” he asked, raising an eyebrow as he glanced over his shoulder at Xavier. He almost laughed at the flush that rose up into the other man’s cheeks.

“Jealous?” Xavier asked.

Something hard settled in Piers’ stomach. That was certainly one word for it.  But, he wasn’t just going to hand that information over. Certainly not to the man who had once been one of his best friends. And a whole lot more. He turned back to the computer instead of responding to that.

Xavier shifted slightly away from him. Piers wished they could get past this. They’d be working together a lot if he ended up taking Alex’s offer to join the company. “It would help to know what they talked about on all these phone calls,” he said instead of thinking more about that.

“Your hacking skills can’t get us that?”

Piers rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. “We don’t talk about that, remember? And, no, not without more equipment. It’s not a magic power.”

“Seems like it sometimes,” Xavier murmured.

Piers felt his own face warm at that. But, he wouldn’t let Xaviersee how much his words pleased him. “We should get the information we have to Declan. He won’t leave his woman, but he should see this.”

He printed out the records they’d found and went to grab them, almost running into Xavier when he turned around. The other man already held the papers. Piers’ gaze caught on Xavier’s mouth and wanted to soothe the lip the other man was currently biting. Instead, he turned sharply away. He just couldn’t do it. Not again.

“Come on. They’re waiting for this information. Let’s go.”

I combined the prompts for both Story a Day and Stream of Consciousness Saturday again today. For Story a Day, it was to write about a sidekick. And for SOCS it was to start with a two letter word(and bonus points for ending with another one). Xavier has filled the role of sidekick before, mostly in Guarding the Heart. He hasn’t shown up too much in Protecting the Heart(which is where this will occur, though I’m not sure it will make it on the page), of course that’s because he’s probably trying to avoid Piers as much as he can. As you can probably tell, they’ve got some history(which I wrote about for the A-Z Challenge here, here, and here). Eventually, he’ll stop being the sidekick and have his own story. Along with Piers.

Story a Day: Day 12 – “Too Overbearing”

Today’s prompt was to write about a flawed protagonist(as all protagonists should be), and to make that flaw pretty much center stage. And Declan’s overbearing/overprotectiveness could definitely be seen as a flaw. Even if he feels he has reasons to be that way.

“I hate you!”

Declan cringed at the sound of the slamming door then ran a hand over his face. He’d never expected to hear those words from his sister’s mouth. Maybe it was common for most siblings, but she’d always seemed to adore him. Even when he hadn’t always wanted her around. There was a nearly ten year age difference between them. And he’d spent most of the earliest years of her life with their father in Ireland.

But, now he was the one responsible for her. Both of their parents were dead, and their stepfather had refused to continue guardianship of her after they’d buried their mother. And good riddance. But, it meant Declan hadn’t had a choice but to step up. And now she hated him. Great. Just, bloody great.

He took a deep breath then headed down the short hallway to her room. “Alaina,” he said, knocking on her door, “I am sorry, but that boy-”

“You haven’t even met him,” she shouted through the closed door. “If you’d talk to him, you’d see. He’s not what you think. You’re just too overbearing to even let me have a life.”

Declan winced. She probably had a point. But, he was just trying to protect her. They only had each other now. He couldn’t let anything happen to her. She had just turned seventeen. And even though he was twenty-six, he could still remember how things had been when he was her age. How he had been.

“It’s not that I don’t want you havin’ a life, Alaina. I just don’t want you hurtin’. Sometimes, well, some boys will say anything at all to get what they want.”

“I told you, Dec, Alek isn’t like that. If you’d talk to him, you’d see that. He can come over here and-”

“Not today.” He practically growled the words. “I have to get to work, Alaina.” He tried to keep his schedule to week days, but they’d needed him to come in today even though it was Saturday. “Please, just tell me you’ll stay here until I get home. We can talk more about this over dinner tonight.”

She didn’t answer him, though. Declan let his forehead hit the door. But, he really did need to get moving. He didn’t want to be late for work. They’d given him the job as much because his father had worked for them as because of his references. It was the one job his time in the Marines actually seemed to come in handy for. And he didn’t want to screw up that chance.

But, once he had his security guard’s uniform on, he tried one more time. “Alaina.”

This time she did open her door, and she smiled as she adjusted his collar. “Don’t you look dashing,” she said. “You going to go keep all those shoppers safe?”

He knew a distraction technique when he saw one and narrowed his eyes at her. “Alaina, promise me you won’t go out and see him. Not until we can talk about this some more.”

She kept that sweet smile on her face, but he wasn’t so sure he should trust it. “I won’t go out, Declan. I promise.”

A warning went off in his head, but he brushed it aside. He wasn’t a prison warden, and he had to get to work. He’d have to trust her. “I’ll bring dinner home,” he told her. “We’ll talk more then.”


Declan rubbed his eyes as he headed into the apartment building then let out a jaw-cracking yawn. He felt like he’d been about to fall asleep on his feet toward the end of his shift. There’d been plenty of people at the shopping mall today, but very little trouble. One missing kid who’d wandered off to the toy store and a teenager who’d tried to walk out of another store with a pair of sunglasses. He’d handle days like that, even if they were boring.

His father had died doing this job, so he’d live with the less eventful moments.

He balanced the boxes of barbeque on one hand while he unlocked the apartment door with the other. Alaina hadn’t answered his texts as he was leaving work, but he hoped she was just getting a head start on her homework that was due Monday. He pushed the door open with his shoulder, but had barely stepped inside when Alaina’s voice cut through the apartment.

“I said no, damn it.”

He nearly dropped the food as everything in him went on alert. He set it on the counter before he took off for Alaina’s room. To find a boy staggering out of the room, blood dripping from a cut on his lip. “Damn, that girl is crazy.”

Declan grabbed his arm and shoved him up against the wall. “That girl is me sister. What did you do to her?”

Before he could answer, Alaina was at their side. “Dec, let him go. He was leaving anyway. Nothing happened,” she added, a little softer now.

He didn’t release his grip on the boy as he looked over at her. Her hair was , her shirt a little twisted up. But, he couldn’t see anything else out of place. He pushed the boy down the hallway. “Get out of here. I don’t ever want to see or hear of you putting your hands on my sister again.”

He waited until he heard the front door slam then turned back to Alaina. And saw she was shaking now. He pushed away the anger still coursing through him and took her arms in his hands. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she said, but her voice wavered. “We were just fooling around. He wanted to go farther than I did. I told him to stop, and he didn’t want to. So, I hit him.”

Despite everything, Declan had to laugh. “I taught you well, didn’t I?”

She let out a watery laugh then went into his arms. “So, you don’t have to be so overprotective of me. I’ve told you, I can take care of myself.”

Maybe so. But, that certainly didn’t mean he’d just stop worrying and trying to protect her. He also didn’t want to push her right in the opposite direction. He’d have to work on that. In the meantime…”Come on,” he said, hugging her one more time. “I brought some dinner home. And we can have a talk about twisting the promises you make to me.”

Her lips quirked at that. “I said I wouldn’t leave to see him. I didn’t go anywhere.”

“Like I said. We’ll have to have a talk about the spirit of a promise.”


Writing Wednesday: On a Roll

This is turning out to be a pretty good week for the writing. And reading. I started two new WiPs so far and both are off to a good start. I didn’t realize until I was getting ready to start the second that it was going to be written in first person. The last time I attempted this(East of Abilene) it didn’t turn out too well. But, this is the first time I’ll be attempting a dual POV in 1st person. I do that all the time in 3rd, so I’m hoping the switch to 1st won’t be too difficult. I’ve only written the first chapter, which s all from Yasmin’s POV. I’ll be switching to Nola’s when I pick this back up again next week. But, so far I’m really enjoying it. And I should be working on it next Wednesday, which means you’ll get to see a snippet of it then.

Speaking of, it’s time to share a snippet of what I’m working on for WiPPet Wednesday!! WOOHOO!!! And today that would be Protecting the Heart. This is book 2 in my BC Security series, Declan’s story. I actually wrote this as part of today’s Story a Day entry(I’ll include the link to that below so you can read the whole thing if you want), but it was in 1st person(today’s prompt), so I rewrote it to fit in with the rest of the story. 9 paragraphs(5+4) for today.

She heard footsteps on the stairs and took a deep breath, hoping it would help steady her. Or at least let her look like she was steadied. Declan had seen her at her weakest, and she didn’t need him to think of her like that right now. Not if she was going to do this. She turned from the counter and saw him standing in the doorway, studying her.

“Your friend left?” she asked.

“Yeah. What did you need to talk to me about, Eva?”

He took a couple steps toward her with the question, and she felt her nerves dance just under my skin. It had been like that every time he looked at her ever since the other night. What was wrong with her? This attraction had to be all one-sided. There was no way he thought about her like that. But, she wasn’t afraid of him. That wasn’t what these nerves were about.

“I want to do something,” she told him.

“Okay. What? You need to go somewhere? I can take you.”

She shook her head. “That’s not what I meant. I want to do something about Doug, to stop him.”

His whole stance changed at those words. “You don’t need to do that. I told you I’d take care of you. That I would keep you safe.”

“But, I can’t just sit around knowing he’s still out there. I have to do something, Declan. I don’t want to be this damsel in distress. Not again.”

Their story is starting to come together for me now. Hopefully that will continue.

As for my progress for this week:

  • Write/edit 20 hours – 9 hours, 50 minutes. 8824 words so far this week.
    • Break on Me – 3206 words
    • In the Moonlight – 2657 words
    • Protecting the Heart – 2907 words
    • Guarding the Heart – Filled in details through Chapter 16. Added 54 words.
  • Dance with the Devil get to 1250 words – got to 1268 words on Monday.
  • Goin’ Down – get to 1000 words – Got to 957 words yesterday. Should be able to meet this goal today if I get everything else done.
  • Snow White Twist – get to 750 words – haven’t gotten to this one yet this week.
  • Read: Storyworld First – 25% – at 10%. On track for this one.
  • Read: Liberty(Lindsay Buroker), Level Up(Cathy Yardley), Sunset Park(Santino Hassell), This Song is Not for You(Laura Nowlin), Stolen Songbird(Danielle L Jensen), Wreck of the Nebula Dream(Veronica Scott), & The Abyss Surrounds Us(Emily Skrutskie) – Finished Liberty(loved this), Level Up(this was a really fun one), Sunset Park(loved it), and This Song is Not for You(really enjoyed this one too). Just started Stolen Songbird this morning. Have only read the first chapter so far.
  • Knit: Entwined Fingerless Gloves – Got the first of these started. Making good progress on it.
  • Story a Day – Write 7 stories – 3/7 stories
    • Broken Promise – This was Sunday’s but including with this week’s because I noticed on Monday that the comment box wasn’t showing up.
    • Every Sunday – this ended up being the beginning of Break on Me
    • Selling – This comes close to the beginning of In the Moonlight
    • Do Something – This became part of Chapter 9 of Protecting the Heart

A lot of blue and green so far this week. Hoping more of the red turn to green and green to blue by the end of the week.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Zoo”

Time for another Stream of Consciousness Saturday post. Today’s prompt is ‘zoo’ either as the word itself or as part of a word.


Declan jerked his head as the missile went past, and he felt it nearly graze his cheek. For just a brief moment, he was back. In the middle of the fighting, not knowing when an explosion or bullet could take any of them out. Then, he was brought back. By a little girl’s giggle.

“Sorry, Declan,” Danica said.

And he was right back in his living room. With Eva in the kitchen, and Danica scurrying after the toy she’d just thrown across the room. He rubbed a hand over his eyes. He couldn’t believe he’d fallen asleep sitting up on the couch. That shouldn’t have happened. He couldn’t let it happen again.

Not while these two were still in danger.

“Are you supposed to throw things in the house?” he asked.

“I didn’t,” she said, her eyes wide as she shook her head.

Declan glanced over his shoulder at Eva, who seemed to be trying to smother a smile. He turned back to Danica. “It went flying past my head. So, unless it grew wings, mo cara, you did just that.”

She shook her head again. “It’s Nighthawk. He can fly.”

He lifted one eyebrow at her, and she nodded. “He can, Declan, really. I’ll show you. Wait here.”

Declan hadn’t really planned to move from the couch. Not unless he had to. But, as he looked over his shoulder, Eva bent down to scoop up the toy and moved over to his side. “This is Nighthawk,” she said. “One of Dani’s favorite superheroes.”

He glanced at the toy and reached out to take it but winced at the stab of pain that went through his arm. Eva ran her fingers lightly over the bandage there. “Just relax,” she told him. “I’ll handle this. Get her to play quietly.” Her lips twitched. “It is rare, but it can happen.”

“It’s fine. I’m fine, Eva.”

“You were shot. Protecting us. I still don’t see why you won’t take a pain pill.”

But, he couldn’t. Not unless he got one of the other guys to keep an eye on things. “It’s not that bad,” he assured her, not for the first time.

Before she could argue once again, Dani came running back into the living room, several books clasped in her hands. She jumped onto the couch, and he barely held back another wince as his arm was jostled. “Dani, be careful,” Eva reminded her. “Declan was hurt.”

He didn’t bother reminding her he was fine, the bullet had done only a little more than graze him. He’d been injured worse than this before. But he didn’t have two people’s, who he was coming to care quite a bit for, safety as his sole responsibility then. He sent a smile to Danica, though, to assure her it was okay. “What do you have there?”

She sent a worried look at her mom then turned back to Declan. “These are all about Nighthawk. This one is about his beginning. And these other tell all about the people he helps. Like you do.”

His throat went thick at that, and he glanced back at Eva. He hadn’t been doing a great job of helping them. Barely staying one step ahead of trouble. He was going to have to change that. But, Eva was smiling at them, like that thought wasn’t even bothering her. She trusted him, and he needed to make sure he didn’t betray that by letting either of them get hurt.

“Can you read them to me? I think I’d like to know more about this Nighthawk. As long as he doesn’t fly around my apartment anymore.”

Danica grinned up at him then opened the first book and started reading.


This takes place during Protecting the Heart, which I’m currently over 17k into. This part(him getting shot) hasn’t happened yet, but it’s in the outline. I had no idea where this was going to go beyond the zoom at the beginning. Don’t know if this scene will even make it into the story, but it was fun to write.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Ball

Welcome back for another Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Today’s prompt is ‘ball’. And since I finished outlining Protecting the Heart(book 2 in my BC Security series) Thursday, those characters are still swarming in my head. I’ve shared some of Declan’s back story, but today it will be Eva’s.

“Did you ever go to a ball, Mommy?”

I set the book I’d been reading to my daughter aside. “Why do you ask that?” We hadn’t even been reading about princesses or balls. Danica usually picked out superhero books or ones about animals.

“When I was at Amber’s yesterday, she was watching a cartoon, and they were at a ball. They were all wearing fancy dresses and suits.” She wrinkled her nose at that, and  couldn’t help but laugh. My girl didn’t understand the appeal of dresses, never had. I didn’t wear them anymore either.

“Not a real ball with princess and all that,” I finally told her. “But, there were a few parties that were like that.”

“And you wore dresses like that?”

“Probably not quite the same. But, they were rather fancy.” I’d told Dani stories from my past, but ‘d left out a lot, especially from those few years before she was born.

“I saw a picture of you in one.”

I was about to pick the book up so I could return it to the shelf, but her words stopped me. “What do you mean? What picture?”

“In one of the picture books in your room. It’s white, but it’s really fancy like those ones were in the cartoon.”

Picture book? It took me a minute to realize she meant a photo album. But, those were all in a box in my closet, except for the ones I’d started filling after we moved here. “Were you snooping, Dani?”

Her little cheeks flushed, and she glanced away from me. At least ‘d known better than to keep her birthday presents there.

“It was really pretty, Mommy.”

The dress had been beautiful. But, my memory of it, like a lot of memories of that time, were tainted now. “That was from my wedding,” I told her.

She bit at the corner of her thumb, and I almost smiled. She’d stopped sucking her thumb when she was two, but even more than two years later, that thumb was a source of comfort when she was anxious. “What is it?” I asked her, settling on the bed beside her.

“There was a man in the picture, too. Is he my daddy?”

Why hadn’t I just burned all those pictures? I didn’t need that tie to my past. And now it was bringing up questions I really didn’t want to answer. I tried never to lie to her, though. “Yes, he is.”

“Is he a prince? He looked like one of the ones in that cartoon.”

A prince? Hardly. Not unless he was the evil one that wanted to come in and take control of the kingdom. “No,” I said softly, “but he liked to think he was.”

He nose wrinkled up again, not in disgust his time but thought. “That doesn’t make sense. Was he trying to find a castle to take us to? Maybe that’s why he’s not here. Is it?”

Okay, so I’d never been too truthful with her about this. I just told myself she didn’t need to know, that she was better off not knowing. I didn’t know how much longer I could deflect her questions, though. Especially now that she was making friends who did have fathers in their lives.

“No, that’s not why, Dani. He’s not here because I wanted to keep you safe.”

“But, the prince is supposed to keep the princess safe.”

And a husband was supposed to love and cherish his wife. But, that hadn’t been my experience. I tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear. “Things don’t always work out the way they’re supposed to.” I pulled the blankets up over her and brushed a kiss over her forehead. “Go to sleep now. We can talk more about it tomorrow.”

I just hoped I could figure out what to tell her by then. I’d done what I needed to all those years ago, before he even found out Danica existed. And I’d do whatever was needed to make sure he didn’t find out about her. I’d keep both of us safe for as long as possible.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Contraction

I’m back for another Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Woohoo! I’ve had a lazy couple of days, my motivation completely disappearing. Which usually means I need to take a break. Not something I do too often. But, I did get a good bit of reading done during that time. Unfortunately, I haven’t worked on back stories for the two WiPs I’m plotting in that time either. So, I figured I could use today’s prompt of “contraction” to work through some of that.


“Don’t you have anyone waiting for you?”

I’d spent the last twelve weeks with the four men sitting around me. And thirty-five others who had been in our platoon of recruits. The five of us had bonded more than any of the other recruits, though. May be it was having our home state in common. Although there were times I still considered myself a fraud for calling it that. I hadn’t been born in Texas. I was six months old before Mom ever brought me here. But, I’d spent most of my life living either here or with my dad in Ireland. We’d been here exclusively since I was thirteen, though. So, it was home.

And it felt good to be back on home soil.

I glanced back at the two recruits…no, we weren’t that anymore. That’s what the Drill Instructor had said at our emblem ceremony. We were Marines now. Alex and Casey had hit it right off. Who would have known they had grown up only a town apart. After the first few days, you would have thought they’d grown up in the same home. But, not even close.

Casey still hadn’t answered the question Xavier, who brought up the rear of our little pack, had asked him. Alex shot him a look, and I wondered what that was all about. Obviously Alex knew even more about Casey’s situation than the rest of us.

“He’s coming home with me,” Alex said.

“No. I’m not. I’ll find a place.”

“Already told you. You got a place at the ranch.”

I let their argument roll around me. I knew a little about Casey, though he didn’t talk a lot. But, we lived in close quarters. I’d seen the scars on his back. And, I was guessing, Alex knew the story behind them.

“You sure they are not brothers?” Piers asked from my side.

“They say so. What about you? Your family waiting here?”

“Mom promised she would be. Don’t know if Dad could get away.”

That was something Piers and I had in common. My dad had been a soldier in the Irish Army. My mom met him over there. He’d finally left the Army and come here almost six years ago. Piers’ mother was from Canada and had come here after meeting his father, who was another Marine. Piers had been born here but split his time between here and his mother’s family, though not as much as I had.

I knew my dad wouldn’t be here for me. He couldn’t be. And that hit me just as hard as it did every time I thought about it. Alaina said she’d be here with Mom, though. And whoever this new guy was that Mom had found. As long as he was good to her. I told myself that was all that mattered. Even though her being with someone other than Dad just felt…wrong.

Xavier came up to us, and Piers slung an arm over the slighter man’s shoulders. There was something between the two of them, though it wasn’t the same as our bond. I shook off that thought as I recognized a familiar head of strawberry blond curls. I dropped my duffel as my little sister launched herself at me. I caught her easily even though she was a lot longer than she used to be when we played this. It wasn’t so hard to catch a seven-year-old when I was fifteen.

I finally set her back on the ground and looked over her at my mom. She was…reserved. That was the best way to think of it. And I swore I could see tears in her eyes. She hadn’t wanted me to enlist. She’d spent twelve years worrying about Dad, and now she saw the same thing ahead of her. But, she came to me now.

“You look so much like him,” she told me. “He’d be proud of you.”

I’d just gone through a grueling twelve weeks, the worst of it the last 54 hours, and I hadn’t shed a tear. Now, though, my eyes burned. A throat cleared behind her, and she jumped back a little. Her smile wavered. “Declan, this is Jacob. My fiance.”

No. Alaina had told me Mom was seeing someone. But, that hadn’t been until after I’d left. Not even three months. How could he have moved in so quick? “What about Dad?” I said, my voice coming out harsh.

A shutter came down over her gaze. “Your father’s dead, Declan. Me being lonely won’t bring him back. It’s been a year.”

Not quite. And I knew nothing would bring him back. It didn’t make this hurt any less. I forced myself to hold my hand out to him. He gripped it hard, but his smile looked forced, too, and a little hard. “It’s wonderful to meet you at last, Declan. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

I didn’t like him. I know it’s unfair, but instantly I disliked him. “Funny. I have heard very little about you.”

His mouth tightened at that. But, he asked, “Who are your friends?”

“These are my brothers,” I said and introduced each of them. Then, a woman came up to Piers, and they started speaking in French. He’d taught me a few words, but I couldn’t follow their conversation. It must be his mother, who had given him a much warmer welcome than mine had. Soon, I stood alone with my family.

“We should go,” my mom said. “Jacob hired a caterer for your welcome home dinner.”

“I’d like to make a stop first,” I said as we headed out to the car.

“Where to?” Jacob asked as he pulled out of the parking lot.

“The cemetery.”

Tension was suddenly like a heavy blanket in the car.

“That’s not needed,” my mom finally said.

I need it. Please, Mom.”

After a moment, she nodded. I saw Jacob reach over and squeeze her hand. Something inside me seethed. It didn’t matter if they got married, I told myself. I would never consider him my father.

I’d had a good father who I loved. I would never replace him. I couldn’t.


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